Tuesday 3 July 2012

Barns and Bunnies

And so to the 30th and the first Anniversary of Dad’s giving up work. It was at 15:30 on 30th June 2011 that Dad handed his security pass in to Hungarian Anna (tiniest Security Guard ever), walked across the pedestrian bridge and out through the turnstiles for the last time into the car-park. He has kept in touch with most of his chums from the old firm via Facebook, and it was on FB that they all had an amusing “virtual” celebratory drink at 15:30 on Saturday. There were invitations and people accepting or declining apologetically, good wishes, choosing of virtual “drinks” etc, even though everyone was actually in their own house or going about their own business. At 15:30, dad put the following out on Facebook
"Ahem!!! . Thank you, Thank You! Now then. Thank you all for being here today and for taking the time to come and support me in this small celebration. Some of you have, I know, come considerable distances, some even from the far side of the globe. I will not keep you long - do you all have a glass with something in it? Good. Please raise your glasses then and join me in a toast to "Brand New Life". May everybody who wants one get one! Cheers. "
Mad as a box of frogs!
Other than that it was a bit of a quiet-ish Saturday really in which we dodged the frequent bursts of heavy rain to get the shiny new, red painted stable-door(s) installed on the utility room. Very nice they look, too. Dad also made a batch of white bread rolls which were his best ever (all be it starting from a fairly low base!)

1st July
When the rooster crows at the break of dawn (well, 06:30) to bright sunshine we were briefly optimistic that we might have put rain and wet behind us with the month of June. By 08:00 when Dad’s taking Mum's cup of tea upstairs, it's drizzling and these hopes are dashed.
Mum and Dad’s Plan A is dashed - a trip to a local vintage tractor fair - when we see from the website that it's postponed due to bad weather. However, there are gaps in the rain and in one of these Dad can get the final weather strips onto the 'stable' door he has fitted to the utility room and final touches of white undercoat or red gloss as appropriate. It looks very fine.
The rain generally, however induces a frustration and boredom. Dad is like a kid towards the end of the school holidays who wont be helped and rejects all suggestions with "But I'm BORED!" There's no pleasing him. He wants to get out onto the allotment and hoe but it's too wet. If you chop off grass roots in that damp soil, they just re-attach in the new location and grow there. You need a dry day where decapitated roots quickly wilt beyond redemption. The whole lot needs re-modelling into raised beds and sunken paths to help drainage but it'd just get smeared up and claggy at the moment.

Dad is pottering about with a hoe around some carrots when he sees Mum wander off towards the former hay-barn armed with 'his' bolt croppers. That looks like a much better offer. Dad and Mum (He’s in there like Flynn!) are going to dismantle the fallen west end of the barn which lies on the ground all overgrown with nettles and grass like some big metal roof of a fox den or vole city. We dogs can't wait to get under it, so are pawing, sniffing and digging round the sides as Mum and Dad work. This is proper work - crow bars, lump hammers, bolt croppers, work gloves, brute force and ignorance. Hour and a half and 2 coffee breaks later we have it dug out, broken up and the corrugated sheeting stacked, when rain again stops play. Mum and Dad retreat to the shops for wraps and salad to have with left over chilli. 

Afternoon is easy pottering and internetting while they wait for sun / yard-arm thing. Just done supper when John Deere Bob chugs round on his tractor. It's well late for him and we think he's feeling a bit lost and worried about his 4th Chemo tomorrow. We love the old boy, so we sit down and Mum and Dad chats with him while he takes tea and ginger biscuits. He tells us he's seen a weather report that gives a week of sunshine in July but, curiously, did not 'know' which week. He might be just teasing us. He's like that.
2nd July
 Out to the left of our former hay-barn is a flat, earth 'parking area' with a short stretch of wall separating it from 'the woods'. Continuing the line of the wall was a rotted, half buried post and mesh fence with a couple of strands of barbed wire on it just for fun, the whole now well overgrown with goose-grass, brambles and nettles. Mum has a cunning plan to fell the few horrible trees at the top of the wood (Leylandii, elder etc) and remove the fence altogether, leaving us with an open space which encircles the rather nice wall. Yesterday's job, clad in waxed jackets, boots and hats was to rip out the fence and scythe down the weeds to remove the 'visual' barrier.

That brought us neatly (if a bit wetly and muddily) to 12:30 when Mum and Dad needed to be heading for the rabbit seller lady, known to us only as Lizz (2 zeds!) at that stage, from Donedeal.ie, Irish version of EBay / Classified ads site. "I'm down by Knock" says she - the town not the airport. Come as far as Knock and I'll give you directions. That's 'andy, 'Arry. Knock is not 30 minutes away. To an Englishman, Knock is one bizarre place, choc-a-block with tourists including busloads, featuring an enormous 'shrine' complex and numerous shops selling religious 'tat' - the usual icons and Virgin statues but also special bottles to collect your Holy Water in, any size you like from thimble full to Jerry Can, it seemed as well as posters (e.g. of Padré Pio) and no end of other stuff designed to make Dad curl at the edges. Lorks!

Anyway, Dad phoned Lizz and found the lane off the road to Kiltimagh, which turned out to be the entrance to the Mayo School of Musical Excellence (so we're guessing this bunny is going to more used to harmonious Mozart doodlings on the Baby Grand than our own home-brew of circular saw screeches and chain saw scream, hammering and banging on corrugated iron, dogs barking and William giving it "Cock a Doodle DOOOOO!" as he now does regularly throughout the day.). Mum and Dad were still 100 yards off when we spotted Lizz's superb bright CERISE hair! She was standing on a raised front lawn with another lass, by a small pen containing three tiny bunnies, 8 and 10 weeks old, palm-of-the-hand sized! 

Anyway, they all made friends, selected the 10-week boy, mainly to increase the chances of him not being clouted around by the girls, bid Cerise Lizz (and chum) farewell and headed home through an absolute downpour. They actually sat in the car when they got home while the rain eased off. Quick snack, then they put the bun in his cat-box in with the girl-rabbits. Padfoot said a quick hello and ignored him. Ginny was a bit more interested. Small boy rabbit (named Rogers by Mum (she claims, innocently, based on the fact that he's a buck, but hopefully his name being plural he'll feel less alone when he copes with G+P)). Ginny decided to whack him a couple of times sending him scampering away to crouch motionless for a few minutes. He recovered and hopped about some more but then she pounced again. That was all, and we hope it's just her showing him who's boss, but it reduced him from happy scamper to a crouching nervous boy. We left them be but then it started raining again and it looked like a) he wasn't going to be allowed in the hutch to get dry and b) his response to rain was going to be to crouch and hope it went away. Mum and Dad rescued him to the cat-box in the calf house for the evening and night. We will play bunnies again tomorrow.

No comments: